Don’t worry about delays, says minister

Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos, a top government official involved in organizing the 2004 Athens Olympics, insisted yesterday that preparations for the Games are on track, despite criticism of delays from International Olympic Committee officials. Venizelos also insisted that construction of all venues will be completed on time. We have experience with construction works… The IOC does not have the experience of construction works, they are more worried about them, Venizelos said. Despite assurances by Venizelos and other government officials, an IOC inspection team which visited Athens last week expressed concern that little has been done to make up for past delays in constructing sports venues. Denis Oswald, head of the overseers, said constant pressure is needed for Athens to be ready on time, and called on the government to make up for delays. Venue construction, accommodation, roads and transport projects all are seriously behind schedule. According to the Washington Post, the director of the Greek Embassy’s press office in Washington, Achilleas Paparsenos, addressed a letter of apology to the US government in which he noted that the behavior of some hooligans did not reflect the sadness felt by the Greek nation as a whole over the tragedy. Greece stands by America in the fight against terrorism and has already offered its help. The unreasonable behavior of some fanatical individuals, which one can find in any country of the world, does not, in any way, represent their compatriots who are unreservedly committed to fighting the forces of evil, the letter noted.

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